The new national business names registration scheme comes into force on 28 May 2012.
From 28 May 2012 onwards:
- business names will be registered through ASIC and will cover the whole of Australia under a single registration;
- all existing State and Territory-based business name registrations will be transferred onto the National Business Name Register and given national effect. Business name registrants will then be entitled to trade under their registered business names throughout Australia, subject to any competing rights in similar names or trade marks owned by other traders.
What do I need to do?
You do not need to take any action at this stage. Existing business name registrations will automatically be transferred onto the National Business Names Register.
If you have registered the same business name in multiple States/Territories, after 28 May 2012 you may wish to renew only one of your existing registrations, to reduce renewal costs and streamline business name administration.
What about new business name registrations?
Following 28 May 2012, it will be possible to check in advance whether a business name is registrable, reducing previous uncertainty. Business name registration costs will be significantly reduced, with official fees reduced to $30 for a single year registration, and $70 for a 3 year registration, for a national business name registration.
It is likely to be easier to register a business name under the new scheme than under the previous State/Territory based scheme, under which each State/Territory tended to apply slightly different registrability rules, which often led to inconsistent results for attempts to register the same business name in different States/Territories.
Does this affect my trade mark rights?
The business name registration scheme is purely regulatory and is designed so that consumers can identify who is operating a business when the individual or company trades under a different business name. It is entirely separate to the trade mark registration regime. Unlike a trade mark registration, a business name registration does not in and of itself provide any rights to prevent third party use of similar names. The new national business names registration scheme will not have any impact on your existing trade mark registrations, or any rights you may enjoy through use of your own trade marks. Business name registrants will not be able to rely on a national business name registration to override the trade mark rights of other traders.
As with the previous State/Territory-based business name registration schemes, ASIC will only check new business name applications against existing business and company name registrations and will not check the Trade Marks Register, so brand owners will need to continue monitoring the market for infringing trading names.